Text: James 1:5-8 October 26, 2008.
1) A modern day service: Whether you need a weather
2) An ancient day service: In a sense, the offer to ask anything, at anytime from anywhere mirrors God’s call to all who believe in Jesus, His Son. James, one of Jesus’ disciples, offered, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all of us generously and without reproach.” (James 1:5)This is more than a mobile information service. It is God’s promise to provide guidance when we don’t know where to go, wisdom when we don’t know what to choose and comfort when we are in time of pain and sorrow.
1) Life is too complicated: The longer we live, the more we realize that life is getting more complicated than we can understand all. When I subscribed a new cell phone last year, I asked the sales rep a few basic questions on how to operate the phone. When I asked another seemingly easy question, the guy told me, “Go home and ask your grandson.” When my grandson was only one month old at the time, I am sure my sons can tell me more than I try to get to know the cell phone myself. Few people have that I-know-it-all mentality any more. When we don’t know, we ask. If you don’t ask when you don’t know, you got stuck.
2) Life is about knowing: You may not totally agree on this saying: Knowledge is power. In everyday life knowing is important. We need to know people before we make friend with them. We need to know the neighborhood before we buy a home there. We need to know the school system before we send our kids to their school and we need to know the company before we invest our money in it. Knowing makes a lot of difference. The more you know, the safer you may be. If you don’t know, you ask.
3) Life is about wisdom: Many people suffer terrible consequences because they made unwise decisions. Wisdom is so important in making sound decisions. Wisdom is higher than knowledge. It is a gift of God. James encouraged us to ask God for wisdom so we may make right decisions and avoid bad consequences. We may acquire knowledge by learning. But no one may acquire wisdom from anyone or anywhere except from God. “If anyone who lacks wisdom, let him ask God,” James said. (1:5)
4) Life is about asking. Very early in our lives we asked questions. We asked our parents things that caught our interest or things we didn’t know. We asked teachers and others whom we think they may provide answers. We keep asking questions all the way to college and at work or at home and in church. In fact, we never stop asking questions such as “what do we have for dinner tonight?” Asking is a big part of our everyday life
1) God knows us the best: The popular saying “Father knows the best” is only relatively true. Fathers do know their children in special ways few others know them. With limited human ability and wisdom not all fathers know their children the best. But our Father in heaven is different: He knows us the best. He is not only our creator, he is also our counselor and guide in our everyday life. With His Holy Spirit dwelling in our lives, He knows our hearts and every thought. (Psalm 139:23) So, next time when you have a question, ask God because He knows exactly what you need or want.
2) God knows the best way: Most of us do not bother God with trivial matters. But all of us will ask God when we are at a cross road don’t know which way to go. That is the right step to take because He knows the best way and the higher way. Isaiah encouraged the Israelites to trust God’s leadership in time of stress and confusion because God’s way is the best way and a higher way. (55:8-9)
3) God has the power: Sometimes we know what we want and the plans for our lives, but we find ourselves lacking the power to execute them. That is the time to ask God for help. We are not going to ask God to help us do our plans but asking God to help us understand His plans and be obedient to His plans. He always has the power to do what He wants to do. The angel who told Mary the divine conception of Jesus also told her “For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
4) God has our best interest: Jesus encouraged people to ask God if and when they need help. He said, “If you though are evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) As human fathers have the best interest of their children in mind, God has our best interest in His mind when we ask Him for what we need.
ASKGODNOW: Effective ways to ask God. (James 1:5-8)
1) Come with humility: “If any of you lacks wisdom.” (1:5) Before you ask God, you must admit that you have a need you cannot meet by yourself. Humility is the starting point of asking God. Many people do not ask God or anyone else because they believe they can handle their lives and meeting all their needs. We heard stories of proud men lost in a strange place and got stuck there because they are too proud to ask direction from the local people. If you are too proud, don’t even ask God.
2) Knowing your needs: “Any of you lacks wisdom.” (1:5)This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know your needs. It means you need to be specific on your need when you ask God. It is very important that we are specific, knowing what we need, what our problems are, etc. when we ask God. This will help us, not God, to recognize the acts of God when our needs are met. We need to give God credit when He meets our needs. This is about our thanksgiving when we receive God’s grace.
3) Ask only to God: “He should ask God.” (1:5)Too often we make God as one of the many whom we ask for help. We treat God like another help with others and that is not right. If you trust man, then go to man for help. If you believe that God can do it all, then ask only God. James did not suggest that you ask God and others for wisdom. We should respect God as God and trust only Him who truly can meet out needs.
4) Don’t be hesitate: “God gives generously to all without finding fault.” (1:5)Do not hesitate in asking God for help even if you think you may not be good enough to ask. No one is good enough for God’s grace. It is grace when God gives us anything. God will not first check your list of conduct before He answers your prayers.
5) Come with faith: “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt.” (1:6)Faith and doubt never mix in our prayers if we really want God to answer our prayers. We either believe God and His love and power when we pray or we don’t pray. Doubt about God is the sure way not to receive anything from Him. God can’t answer our prayers if we don’t totally trust Him. James explained the reason, “That man (who doubts) should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.” (1:7)
6) Not double-minded: “He is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (1:8) Double-minded means shifting your position back and forth. This includes your mindset, knowing your needs and your object or objects of making requests to. This is another sign of lacking faith in God. When a man is unstable in what he does, certainly he can’t expect anything from God.
1) Don’t be shy to ask: Asking help from men or God is not a sign of weakness or ignorance. No one is all self-sufficient or all- powerful. We are finite human beings and we need each other and all of us need God. Pretending to know-it-all is both self defeating and ignorant. Be genuine and humble when we ask for help from man and God. You may have an easier and better life if you are willing to ask.
2) Ask the right One: The right one we need to ask is God. He knows our needs, has our best interest in mind, can do all things to meet our needs and will never reject us when we are not good enough to receive His grace. Come to Him in good faith and you will see what God can do in your life.
3) Ask the real thing: The most important thing we ask of God is His forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life. Before you ask anything from God, ask Him to forgive your sins and accept Jesus, His Son, into your heart so you will become a child of God’s family. You will enjoy all of His richness.